THE SISTAS CALLING PRODUCTION
t h e s t o r y o f
The time has come and the time is now.
Violence against women and girls has a long history.
All forms of violence against women and girls have permeated the fabric of society throughout the world.
Generally, the perpetrators are male and the victims are women and girls.
Given this reality, women and girls are calling on MEN to help with the laborious task of eliminating violence against women and girls.
Sistas calling is a movement reaching out to men, men with willingness and readiness to join the movement.
Violence against women and girls is a Social and Human Rights issue.
Let me share Rosa’s story with you. Let me share the many challenges she encountered and how she moved through her trauma and was able to turn her life around and achieve healing.
Learn Sisters Learn
Sistas Calling is now breaking the silence to share the story of a survivor. Rosa’s story shows
how she was able to gain the courage and strength to move through an abusive relationship. She will tell you that living in an abusive relationship, can be difficult and one can feel hopeless and helpless from time to time. She will encourage you to find at least one warrior who you can trust to share your pain and your story. She will tell you that there is hope! She encourages Sistas to learn from her experiences. She will celebrate with you at the end of her troubling ordeal. She wishes that men would join the movement to hold other brothers accountable for their behaviours. She wants men to know that support should not come from women alone.
I Am Me
Rosa drew strength from the warrior. She realized that healing can be achieved through many different means. She was encouraged to dig deep, deep enough to reach her feet and to rely on her inner strength to help her overcome some challenges. She internalized the messages that the warrior sent to her. The warrior used music and dance as a means of reaching her. The warrior modelled the messages through her lifestyle. It was the first time that she was given ownership of self-care and felt validated. She was reminded that she owed it to herself to be well and if she couldn’t take care of herself, she would have difficulties taking care of others. It was at this moment that she felt a spark to begin personal work and realized that she was deserving. She heard the warrior’s musical voice in her head reminding her that she was deserving, honest, true, kind and brave. She wanted to become a warrior. She knew that she had the qualities of a warrior.
Rosa is 42 years old. She migrated to Canada at the age of 30 to join her partner who sponsored her. In the beginning of the marriage she was forced to sign a handwritten contract from her partner which stated that she must not share family issues with anyone. She was not allowed to work, to have friends and to visit other family members. She was allowed to call her aging parents once a month for 15 minutes in the presence of her partner. She was not allowed to go outside without him accompanying her. Her abuse came in many forms sexual, emotional and physical.
One day after listening to the news on television about the death of a woman and her children at the hands of her spouse and while her partner was at a meeting, she packed a small bag, grabbed her four year old son, and ran from her home. She asked a passerby for the address of the closest police station and made a three hour journey to the station on foot, in freezing weather. She was taken to Dr. Roz’s Healing Place, a center for abused women and children with a mandate to eradicate violence against women and children.
Leaving an abusive relationship is often very difficult. The trauma from abuse can last a lifetime and support is not easily available. Rosa struggled with being judged, she suffered the loss of confidence and worth, self-blame and isolation. She tried to go along her way day after day until one day, she met a warrior. The warrior became her therapist. The message was clear that it was time to begin personal work. The message was that she was not deserving of the life that she was living and that she had choices. She was reminded that changes can be tough but there was a better way. She was also robbed of her strengths. Strengths that were inherent in her womanhood.
Why Did You Make Me God?
From time to time, Rosa lost faith. She continued to experience another form of violence. This time it was racism as she tried to find work, housing, support and career direction. She began to doubt herself and to question her existence. She continued to live in isolation, feeling sad, hopeless, lonely and confused, but the warrior did not abandon her. The warrior kept reminding her of her strength and abilities. She was reminded that she’s big and strong. She was encouraged to take up space which she deserved and that she can manage the challenges that confronted her. She kept hearing the warrior’s musical voice in her head reminding her that support was available to her and that racism must be stomped out.
Rosa drew strength from the warrior. She watched the warrior exhibit freedom, bravery, boldness and confidence. She wanted to be free of pain and suffering. She wanted to be strong again. She was determined to become a warrior. She felt fearless and began the work to face her demons. With ongoing therapeutic support, she was able to join the warrior’s circle. They organized and held down her demons. She focused on her trauma using different therapeutic means including music and dance. She held the abuser accountable for the abuse and began to use her voice. She then realized that there is another way to live and that life without violence is the only life to live.
No Means No
As Rosa worked through her struggles in attempts to rid herself of the demons, she realized how many times she was violently forced to release her body to the abuser in spite of the loud cries of ‘No.’ She was forced to perform acts that she was not prepared for. She was told on many occasions by the abuser that he had full ownership and that her body was his property. She was forced to surrender to him after each abusive incident. She was validated by her therapist and now understands that she had experienced many forms of violence. She was educated about the true meaning of ‘No means No ‘and that she’s the only one in control of her body. She learned that violence comes in many forms and she was a victim. A bright light was lit and she reassured the warriors that change was here to stay and she was heading to her destiny. She felt stronger!
In facing the demons, Rosa knew that she had to send a clear message about her change to those who needed to hear. She had to rid herself of negative energy and people, reassess her life and design a new way of being as she planned to move forward. She felt hopeful, found her worth and sent a clear message that she was changing. She felt free as she forgave the abusers for the sufferings that they had inflicted on her. She made the change. She grieved the past, embraced the present, and looked forward to the future. It was bold and tough, but she felt good.
Rosa purged. She cleansed. She smudged. She felt liberated and free. She took her life back. The life that she dreamt for as a young girl. The life that she hoped for when she migrated. The life that she wished for all women and girls. A life without violence; the only life to live. She developed new and healthy relationships.
She broke away. She joined the warriors to make positive societal change so that other survivors can be supported so they don’t have to experience life the way she did. She calls on all women to join her in celebration. She is now ready to live a higher quality life. She wants to celebrate her life with all. She will be joined by her family, friends, and other survivors.
What a journey!
There is hope but prevention is better than cure so
Let’s work toward eradication of violence.
Let’s work towards gender equity
Let’s work to stomping out violence
Let’s work to engaging the brothers in the work
Let’s work toward unity
THERE’ STRENGTH IN UNITY
Let us celebrate Rosa’s positive outcomes!